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Banksy's latest work in Wales references growing air pollution

Street artist and activist Banksy left behind artwork on a garage in the Welsh town of Port Talbot that references the town's air pollution.

Street artist and activist left behind a mural of a child standing under a sprinkling of ash

The photo was uploaded to Banksy's Instagram with the caption of "Season’s greetings" (twitter/@ArtLlew)

Banksy has apparently popped up in Wales, leaving new artwork on a garage in the Welsh town of Port Talbot that references the town's air pollution.

A video posted to his official Instagram account on Wednesday afternoon has close-ups of the piece.

With the children's song "Little Snowflake" as a soundtrack, the video shows images painted on two garage walls that form a right angle. On one side, a child appears to be playing in the falling snow, sticking his tongue out for snowflakes. The other side reveals that the 'snow' is actually falling ash and smoke from a fire in a dumpster.

The video then pans up to show the nearby Tata Steel plant, which looms over the town.

"They've not dropped a Banksy on us, have they?" a man asks on the video, which is captioned: "Season's greetings."

Rachel Honey-Jones, 33, who lives west of the town, said an artist friend of hers was tipped off about the artwork's location and stayed overnight to guard it.

"It's amazing, an incredible addition to Port Talbot," Honey-Jones said.

The owner of the garage, Ian Lewis, 55, a steelworker for Tata Steel, said he first saw the piece when images spread on Facebook on Tuesday evening. He said Port Talbot was probably chosen for the Banksy work due to news headlines about the town's air pollution.

The Tata Steel plant at Port Talbot. (GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images)

In May, the World Health Organization apologized after it admitted that figures identifying Port Talbot as the most polluted town in the U.K. were wrong. It said Port Talbot's air pollution actually measured 9.6853 micrograms, just under half the figure it originally gave the town and below the World Health Organization guideline of 10 micrograms.

A possible inspiration for the artwork may be incidents of black dust from the town's steelworks covering houses, cars and pets in July.  

Council workers erected metal fencing around the garage on Wednesday to protect the artwork.

"People have already taken sledgehammers to it and tried to throw paint on it," said Honey-Jones. "It will bring visitors and trade and tourism to the county, so it really does need to be protected."

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